FTSE led lower by US stimulus concerns

Suzie Neuwirth

THE FTSE 100 closed 2.1 per cent lower today, led by financial stocks after comments from US Federal Reserve officials reignited concerns that quantitative easing would be reduced.

Fund manager Aberdeen Asset management was down 5.7 per cent, while HSBC fell 2.3 per cent and RBS fell 1.9 per cent.

“Despite the better-than-expected non-manufacturing output data coming in at 53.7 versus the expected 53.5, US markets were unable to make much headway with optimism offset by private sector employment numbers,” commented Brenda Kelly, senior market strategist at IG.

“The consensus was for an increase of 170,000 and while the US jobs market continues to expand, the 135,000 added was a breach too far.

“The inconsistent economic data added to mixed signals and rhetoric from various Fed members, and so it’s little wonder the markets are displaying such choppiness.”